Former Illinois Rita Crundwell, 68, (above) was released from Pekin’s Federal Correctional Institute on August 4 eight years earlier
The former Dixon, Illinois comptroller, whose 19 1/2-year sentence for embezzling $53 million in public funds is expected to be completed by 2029, has been released from federal incarceration, angering city officials.
Rita Crundwell, 68, was released from the Federal Correctional Institute in Pekin, Illinois on Aug. 4, according to a Facebook post from the Dixon Police Department.
Crundwell pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2012 after admitting to stealing the money and was subsequently sentenced to nearly two decades in prison in 2013.
The stolen money, which she started collecting in 1990, was believed to be used to support her lavish lifestyle and her horse breeding business.
Crundwell pleaded guilty to wire transfer fraud after she stole more than $50 million from the city of Dixon, Illinois
The city of about 15,000 people, 100 miles west of Chicago, issued a statement that Crundwell would serve 85 percent of the sentence. Its original release date was set for October 20, 2029.
After her release, Dixon Mayor Liandro Arellano Jr. his anger for not being notified in advance.
“Outrageous is a great word, absolutely shocking,” Arellano told ABC 7 Chicago. “We know Illinois has a long history of corruption that we’ve tried to fight statewide — not even serving half the term was a bit of a slap in the face.”
DailyMail.com contacted Arellano about the reason for her release, but said they received no specific explanation as to why.
In April 2020, Crundwell petitioned a judge for parole over concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic affecting her health, but was rejected by the city.
Crundwell wrote in her petition, “I have done everything I can to be a ‘model prisoner’. To work as hard as I can and have never complained about my circumstances here or the pay we receive. Not a day goes by, I don’t regret my crime.’
The small town of Dixon, Illinois has a population of about 15,000 and is located 100 miles west of Chicago
Dixon, Illinois, is about 100 miles west of Chicago. Above, the center of the city
Only about 15,000 people live in the city of Dixon, Illinois
This was not the first time an Illinois official had been sent to prison, as former governor Rod Blagojevich was also released early, having served only eight years of his 14-year sentence.
He was convicted in 2011 of corruption, including charges of selling or trading Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
Blagojevich was released in 2020 after being commuted by former President Donald Trump.
Other former Illinois governors, including George Ryan, Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, were also given prison terms during and after their tenures.
Crundwell’s case is now being heard by the Chicago Transition Office for the Bureau of Prisons, according to their records.
One of Crundwell’s purchases of a 2009 Kenworth T800 tractor-trailer worth over $146,000
A convertible Ford Thunderbird was also recovered from Crundwell
One of the amazing purchases Crundwell made with public funds is a $2.1 million Liberty Coach Motor Home from 2009
The city has recovered $50 million from Crundwell’s stolen money after selling some of its assets and using it as a recovery fund for upcoming Dixon projects.
Her lavish possessions, including Western-style furniture and accessories, horses, vehicles, jewelry, and her homes.
“This isn’t the way a lot of people live around here,” said Jason Wojdylo, a chief inspector in the Marshals Service’s asset confiscation division. “It was a lavish lifestyle… [and] while the city of Dixon closed its doors [public] swimming pools because he could not afford to operate them, the defendant built a swimming pool, complete with sauna … no savings were made.’
Crundwell’s homes were opened to potential buyers and the media for a tour of the US Marshal Services
Crundwell owned four homes in Illinois and one in Florida
The city sold many of its lavish possessions, including furniture, accessories, vehicles, jewelry, and her homes
In September 2012, a horse auction took place at Rita Crundwell’s ranch in Dixon
About half of the money was used for attorney fees and to pay off Crundwell’s debt and the attorney.
The other money raised would be used for a riverside project and for urban improvements, such as repairing the roads and downtown.
City manager Danny Langloss told WQAD-8, “What I’m proud of with this community is how resilient we are. We’ve dusted ourselves, we’ve repacked, we’ve gone out and recovered almost all the money, and we have aggressive plans and projects to get our streets where they need to be.”
Crundwell’s Stolen Millions shopping list included a $2.1 million RV, $339,000 worth of jewelry, and a $147,000 tractor
2009 $2.1 Million Liberty Coach Camper
Paid $2.5 million from her American Express credit card
$339,000 on jewelry
$146,787 for a 2009 Kenworth T800 Tractor Truck
- $140,000 for a 2009 Freightliner truck
- $258,698 for a 2009 Featherlite Horse Trailer
- $3,558,000 stolen in the first three months of 2012
- $30,236,503 stolen since July 2006